An extended walk visiting many of the Sandbach Flashes (lakes formed by subsidence following salt extraction) and including sections along the Trent and Mersey Canal and River Wheelock.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) From the entrance of the Bear’s Paw, turn left and walk up the main village street, passing the primary school and village hall on your left.
(1) At a road junction just beyond the end of the village, turn right into Crabmill Lane. Almost immediately turn left into an entrance and cross a stile between two field gates. The path beyond leads up the side of a field and then into a green lane. When you meet a crossing path, follow the green lane to the right. This leads through a couple of fields and past a house to a lane. Turn left past a sign warning of subsidence. Follow the lane as it drops to cross Warmingham Flash and then, just before a second, smaller, flash, take a footpath on the right. Beyond the end of the pond on your left, look out for a stile, also on your left. In the next field, head diagonally right across the field. As you reach the brow of the hill you pass a circular plastic water trough. In the far corner of the field, you will find a stile into the next field. Keep to the left-hand edge as it kinks left then right and then drop down some steps into another lane.
(2) Turn right and walk down the lane past Yew Tree Farm, before taking a path on the left that leads into swampy woodland (if the path proves impassable, keep along the road until you reach the canal at step (3)). Follow the path through woodland until it emerges onto another road by the lake known as The Moat. Turn right past the lake. Beyond the lake, follow the road until you reach a junction by a canal bridge (bridge 160).
(3) Cross the road and take the towpath opposite. Follow the canal for just over half a mile and pass under a road bridge (bridge 159).
(4) Shortly afterwards walk beneath a railway bridge then immediately leave the towpath for a footpath on the right. Follow the path parallel to the railway for half a mile, crossing the River Wheelock partway along and then passing a lake (Field Farm Flash) on your left. When the path ends, follow the lane beyond to a T-junction, where you turn right, passing between a couple of small flashes to reach a road.
(5) Turn right. After passing under the railway, cross a driveway and keep along the road for 150 metres to a footpath crossing. Turn right up to some steps and through a kissing gate in the hedge and follow the hedge beyond. When the hedge bears slightly right, head straight across the field, with Brook Farm away to your right, to reach a metal kissing gate and footbridge into a lane.
(6) Turn left, alongside Elton Hall Flash, until you return to the road. Turn right, crossing the Wheelock again (a short permissive path from the old bridge gives access to a viewpoint overlooking the Salt Pan, one of the more productive flashes for birdwatchers). Walk past the entrance to Elton Hall and keep on along the road to a crossroads.
(7) Turn left. Follow this busy road for 300 yards, then take a footpath on the right shortly before the road crosses the river. Aim between the two nearest telegraph poles to a stile into a further field. Turn half left and walk down to the River Wheelock. Follow the river downstream for a pleasant half-mile, leaving it briefly at Crabmill Flash where the path cuts a corner across a meander.
(8) At a farm bridge, turn half right, uphill, to a stile and gate in the corner of the field. Turn right and follow the right-hand edge of the field beyond (which may be under crops); at the top of the field, turn left, passing the end of a short green lane on your right. Keep along the right-hand edge of a series of fields, ignoring any crossing tracks, until you emerge between houses on School Lane, Warmingham. Turn left and return to the Bear’s Paw.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 40m - Bear’s Paw
1 : km 0.75 - alt. 50m - Crabmill Lane
2 : km 2.46 - alt. 52m - Yew Tree Farm
3 : km 3.3 - alt. 50m - Canal bridge
4 : km 4.52 - alt. 51m - Railway
5 : km 5.79 - alt. 44m - Clay Lane
6 : km 6.54 - alt. 41m - Elton Hall Flash
7 : km 7.37 - alt. 47m - Hall Lane
8 : km 8.66 - alt. 39m - Farm bridge
D/A : km 10.06 - alt. 40m - Bear’s Paw
May be muddy (or even impassable) at step (2), though an alternative is described. Some field paths may be obscured by crops at times.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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